Thursday, September 30, 2010

[Druid] The Sleeping Moonkin Kicked in the Head

With all this talk of Cataclysm being pushed out to December, even January if is to be believed, I figured that patch 4.0.1 would likewise be delayed. After all, aren't glyphs still a little messed or uneven on the Beta/PTR? I haven't heard anything about theorycrafting for them.

Heck, where's the theorycrafting and screenshots of the new Tree of Life? (Wasn't it supposed to get a new graphic?) I would have figured the resto druid blogs would've been all over those.

But this morning I got a rude awakening. Flying boot to the back of the sleeping moonkin's head. Of course, it would be the day after I made my lazy moonkin post.

What's this? MMO Champion says the 4.0.1 patch could be as soon as October 5th or 12th? Well, come to think of it, I guess the background loader did finish. But are we really ready? Are we that close?

I still have things I wanted to do before 4.0.1.

I wanted to beat Heroic Lich King.

I wanted to get my warlock alt to 80 while I knew how to play one. (Just finally in a position where I'm able to use my raid rotation in 5-mans.) Now I may have to learn affliction all over again.

I wanted to get my resto druid alt (my third druid) to level 50 before tree form disappeared.

Well... Bane of the Fallen King doesn't seem to be going away in 4.0.1, so my guild will still have a crack at it. It'll just take a little time for everyone to relearn how to play, but I'm concerned what will happen to the difficulty. Heroic Lich King is already a tough fight. With the removal of the 30% ICC buff, will that make a difficult fight too difficult? Will it be just that much harder or will it actually be a bit easier? What if some of our guildies end up with underperforming specs?

It's mostly for this that I wish 4.0.1 would take a little longer.

Since this wake-up call I looked at the balance druid glyphs and I started thinking about which ones I'll likely use.

Prime: Insect Swarm, Moonfire, Starfire, and Starsurge in some combination
Major: Entangling Roots (insta-CC!), Innervate (to support the healers), Rebirth (still learning H LK so people die a lot), Starfall, and Thorns (if it does enough damage to warrant using on the tank on cooldown) in some combination
Minor: Typhoon (now easily switchable between whether I want knockback or not) and the rest are quality of life issues

I also looked at the talent trees.

These I think are more likely to change leading up to release. Not significantly, but I would not be surprised to see some shuffling and number tweaking still. I'll probably have something like a 33/0/3 for when I finish out level 80. Oddly enough, the talent trees don't feel so much like "What do I choose?" so much as "What do I skip?"

Keeva already mentioned in her 4.0. resto guide that balance has 41 talent points, which is the least of all the druid trees. I'm not sure what happened between now and the last time I tried to build a talent spec on my blog, but it feels much more like almost every talent point I take in the balance tree is a given. The rest will depend on my mana situation and how much I feel I can safely give up for improved snares and roots.

The latter will be good for solo-ing as I level, but is of dubious importance to raiding and I barely even quest anymore.

Well, I guess the moonkin has been persuaded to get off its bum and start fumbling around for what its dps is going to look like. I'm still skeptical about next week though. Maybe october 12th, but the 5th just seems too soon. The PTR is still up.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

[Druid] I am a Lazy Moonkin

I have a white board at work that I often doodle on (in addition to tracking work-related information). Currently it has a picture of a sleeping moonkin oblivious to the world around it. There is a tree dancing on one side of it and a bear with its tail on fire on the other, thanks to my officemate, but the moonkin itself is still sleeping.

That's really been my approach towards Cataclysm news about moonkin. It used to be I tried to keep up, but not being able to participate in the beta made my interest wane because what was once relevent became no loner relevent at all. I know things are changing, patch 4.0.1 is going to land and I soon won't know my right from my left. I'm going to have a new spell called Starsurge and Eclipse is going to have its own UI interface. But how all that is going to come together I don't know or pretend to understand. When I try to read the concerns about moonkin from my more mathy brethren my eyes glaze over and the moonkin in me goes back to sleeping.

I actually understand and am more excited about the changes coming to holy paladins than I am about the balance side of things.

But I don't intend on changing mains. I just feel I'm not in a position where the changes are meaningful to me. If something's broken, I have faith someone else will fix it, because there are wiser moonkin than me and I sincerely believe that if we are woefully underpowered in Cata that Blizzard will do something about it.

It does make me feel a bit lazy though. What's going to happen if we try doing ICC after 4.0.1 lands? Will I be the nubkin trailing on dps because I don't know what I'm doing?

Well, I figure everyone else will be on a learning curve too... I won't be the only one. It'll be okay to be a lazy noob for a while and sleep is good.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Past Few Weeks

My WoW activities have been rather restricted for a while, but slowly time is coming back. First off:

After completing my Blizzard contest entry I went to my writing workshop, a very special workshop given for free to a select group of candidates. As I mentioned in February, I had placed first in the quarterly Writers of the Future competition, which earned me publication in the annual anthology and a trip to a weeklong writing workshop intended for budding professionals. The workshop was taught by Tim Powers (whose current claim to fame is being the author of On Strange Tides, which is being adapted for the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean movie) and K.D. Wentworth, one of the previous winners and a novelist in her own right.

It was needless to say a fantastic week, well worth the price of admission (which seriously was the postage it took for me to mail in my contest entry). If any readers are budding fantasy and science fiction writers, the WotF competition is now taking electronic submissions. It doesn't get easier than that!

They go international as well. This year's crop of twelve winners (1st-3rd place from the four quarters of the 2009 contest year) had one from Ireland, one from the UK, and one from Australia. The rest were from the US.

Since I'd placed first, this meant I was in the running for the grand prize, which I... somehow... managed to win... The Gold Award was given to me at the award ceremony at the end of the week.

So, it was a good week for me. Very busy. No WoW that week. But a good week. It's weird to be on a first name basis with writers you've only heard about before, or whose works you've read, and find out that they're very interested in helping new writers get in the field. Mike Resnick sent me a message on Facebook, encouraging me to keep writing, after the competition. That's the kind of attention and involvement these folks give you.

After coming back, I rolled into my guild's raid schedule, they missed me, and administrating the guild took about all the free time I had because I was also busy setting up another blog for my writing, another Twitter for my writing, and a Facebook page for my writing. And then, of course, there was the writing itself.

I now write no less than 500 words a day, everyday, without fail. If I come home late and it's 1am, I write. Unless there are complications because of raid time, I make sure I get my writing done before I spend any time gaming. And surprisingly, it's working. I've written over 10,000 words since coming home from the workshop, and I'm still finding time to raid, attend my weekly game nights, and manage a full time job that is currently giving me a lot of overtime. After the initial rush to get all my new sites set up, my free time is coming back to me.

But I do not play as much WoW. It's maybe an hour less on the non-raid nights I still play.

I'm still keeping up with Cataclysm info, though I'm trying to avoid most plot related spoilers. I log on Hana and Gillien 4-5 nights a week to check in with the guild. Darkker is largely on hiatus. I have no time for her at the moment. Most of what alt time I have is currently taken up by my level 70 warlock, which is being leveled to join a group of coworkers in ICC (not sure if I'll get there before Cata!).

And let me say that not being able to queue as a tank or a healer is horrible for someone used to queuing as one or the other (or taking a guild tank). Having access to tank and healer specs for daily heroics has made me entirely too spoiled. Last night I got on Gillien to do the Brewfest boss, decided I didn't want to wait 2 minutes as a healer, so I flopped specs, Divine Plea-ed while in holy gear to get all my mana back, put on my tanking gear, and requeued. Instant success. Go tanking.

I also ended up tanking heroic Lich King on my druid last night!

All our previous attempts we just wouldn't try it without both our usual MT and OT present, but our MT for the LK fight, our bear, had horrible latency issues last night and couldn't stay connected. Just when we were about to give up on being able to run at all, one of our non-raiders showed up (fantastic player, just unable to regularly make the raid nights) and that let our disc priest swap to his mage and I swapped specs to bear. My bear set is almost as good as our MT's now so we made a go of it.

We had all kinds of sloppiness and only made it to 60% last night, but at least we got a night of attempts in, and I can safely say I make a decent stand-in for our regular LK tank.

If you're interested in following my writing, my new writing blog is The Rat's Den. It will not follow a regular publishing schedule and probably will not talk much about WoW, since it will mainly discuss my writing or my thoughts on writing. I think there may be a fair chance of general anime or video game posts though since those are what got me into writing.

As for the story that actually won, the paperback version of the anthology can be pre-ordered on Amazon. There is also a Kindle version as well, and I think the Kindle one may already be available (it doesn't say pre-order).